Like so many believers experienced in 2020, our church was closed for a time. Our family worshiped from home, inviting our pastor into the living room each week as we gathered around the TV.
So when we finally emerged from our months of pandemic quarantine, it was like breaking free from the prison of isolation to join a living, breathing world again.
As we tossed a football at a local park, I noticed three people gathering on the top of a far-off hill—one with a guitar in his hands. My curiosity piqued, I braced a palm to my forehead to block out the sun. Watching. Waiting for I didn’t know what. And straining my ears to listen as the man began to play. I stood frozen, that is until I heard it: “Jesus.”
My months of being out of church had had a profound impact on me; the man sang His Name and I took off.
My husband and sons called behind me as I picked up speed, practically running up the hill. I laugh now because the memory is comical, especially when I reached the top of the rise. I stood before a group of startled strangers with what had to be a sheepish look on my face and nothing to justify why I was there except that “I heard the Name of ‘Jesus’ and just came running.”
Best I can remember at the time, I was desperate for Jesus. For other believers. For the love I knew His Name could bring. In fact, I was so desperate for restoration—to be awakened back to life—that my heart reacted in a way that surprised even me.
Have you ever needed God like that?
Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by your circumstances that, given the chance, you’d throw off everything else and just run in surrender to Him?
In the wake of Christ’s crucifixion, we can guess the apostles were swept over by a range of emotions: confusion; discouragement; isolation; perhaps pain, grief, and loss. Even despair that what they’d thought was supposed to happen . . . didn’t. The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly what the apostles’ hearts were navigating at the time, but it does paint a portrait of their response when Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and other women returned with a report that Jesus was not in the tomb. No—He had risen from the grave!
The apostles thought these were idle tales. That is, except for one man.
The Gospel of Luke tells us:
“Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.” (Luke 24:12)
As a storyteller, I’m always caught up in the sheer breathless beauty of that moment. What did Peter think as he ran to the tomb, his sandals pounding the dirt of the road beneath his feet? What did he feel as he approached the stone, seeing it rolled away? Did he cry, or perhaps even cradle the strips of linen to his chest as redemption washed over him?
I found out that day in the park that I’d run toward a worship band filming a segment for their church’s online service. And after a long journey through the unexpected and overwhelmed, I’d caught a sudden glimpse of a moment similar to Peter’s when he was brought back to life—in of all places . . . a grave.
But out of that grave comes the very redemption we find, and find only in Jesus:
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Friend, our circumstances don’t have to overwhelm us. In fact, the moment we’re most overwhelmed is the perfect moment to come alive again and embrace all God can do to bring life back to the dead places in our hearts.
Don’t wait. Run to the promises of God. Run to the life that’s waiting for you in His Word. Run to prayer and worship and to the community of Jesus-followers in your life . . .
Overwhelmed? Get up and run toward Jesus—redemption is waiting for us when we do.
By Kristy Cambron
KRISTY CAMBRON is a Christy Award-winning author, writing bestselling historical fiction, Bible Studies, and the NIV Verse Mapping Bible—including Verse Mapping Bible editions for adults and the NIV Verse Mapping Bible for Girls ages 8-12. She’s served as a Women’s Ministry Leader and speaks at events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to the Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, has received multiple INSPY Award nominations, and is a 2020 Christy Award Winner for Historical Fiction.